Lotus root soup, a tasty and healthy dish
Lotus root soup is a traditional dish eaten daily by Vietnamese people. It is also enjoyed at parties, weddings and during the Tet (lunar New Year) holiday. The dish is available at restaurants in all three regions of Vietnam.
Every part in lotus plant can be used as a traditional medicine and in cuisine. Especially, lotus roots contain many different nutritious that has many benefits for your health. Not only is it a versatile ingredient in the kitchen, but it’s also incredibly healthy. High in fiber, Vitamin C, magnesium and completely fat-free, lotus root is great for controlling blood circulation, blood pressure and overall digestive health.
Pig’s leg stew with is a popular and nutritious Vietnamese dish. (Photo: monngonvietnam.com)
Lotus roots are still main material for many dishes as lotus root soup. There are several ways to cook the dish but the most popular one is to stew lotus roots with pork leg.
The best quality roots are often from West Lake. The dish should be stewed over light fire for 20 minutes. The savory lotus soup is appreciated for its sweet broth, nutty lotus roots and soft, tasty pork leg.
Professor, Dr. Do Tat Loi, an herbal researcher, said lotus root helps eliminate toxins from the body and cools body heat. It is very nutritious for sick patients and pregnant women.
Meanwhile, Chinese people often enjoy lotus root soup cooked with seaweed at new year, accompanied by a wish for all family members to live in a peaceful atmosphere year round, according to Loi’s research.
There are cooking courses to teach people to make dishes from lotus roots in Viet Nam and in the region, including Japan, where Iwakuni city trains women to cook food made from lotus seeds.
The Japanese consider the lotus root lucky because they see brighter light and a promising future through the holes inside the root, Loi said.
Koreans consider the lotus root a symbol of reproduction and development, so the dish is often present at their daily meals, he said.
Lotus roots may also be used to cook various dishes using different ingredients. (Photo: specialfoodvietnam.com)
Dr. Trinh Xuan Truong, of the Nam A Traditional Medicine Hospital in Ha Noi, said lotus roots stop bleeding, have diuretic properties, fortify the kidneys, have tranquillising effects and promote beautiful skin.
In the past, fresh and dried lotus leaves were popular traditional herbs to treat many ailments, such as sunstroke, stomach ache and diarrhea, said Truong.
These days, researchers have discovered lotus leaf preparations help people lose weight and lower high blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.
Herbal researcher Vo Van Chi says elders with atherosclerosis and a history of cerebral hommorrhaging should drink lotus leaf tea.
Tue Tinh (1330-1400), a renowned herbalist of the Tran Dynasty, said in his book titled Nam Duoc Than Hieu (Marvelous Effective Herbs of Viet Nam): “Lotus leaves, with their bitter flavour and nonpoisonous nature, help to reduce stresses and treat women’s pregnancy and obstetrics, scabies and stomach ache very effectively.”
Patient To Minh Cuong, who suffered from both high cholesterol and triglycerides for several years, said his symptoms were greatly reduced after drinking lotus leaves daily.
Ta Ngoc Tho, 65, dealt with insomnia for years. He drank many sorts of medicines, without benefit. He was very weak and tired after years of insufficient sleep. But his insomnia was cured when he started drinking lotus leaf tea a year ago.
“I’m healthy again. Now I’m trying to introduce lotus leaves to many of my friends who face ailments similar to mine,” Tho said.
But Associate Professor, Dr. Nguyen Duy Thuan of the Viet Nam Hospital of Traditional Medicine warns that only 15-20 grammes of dried lotus leaves should be used per day. Overdosing on lotus leaf preparations may damage the heart and weaken heart function./.